A map for use with Mysteries of the Moonsea

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I am playing through Mysteries of the Moonsea with my players and drew up a larger map for the bandits and pirate encounter in the first chapter. I thought I'd post it up here if it is of any use to anyone else out there.


The fullsize (2000px by 2000px) image can be found here or here

This was designed for use in maptool - a free VTT from www.rptools.net.

Feel free to use it and share it for any non-commercial purpose as long as if you post it elsewhere it is attributed back to me. Cheers.
I will say that's a nice looking map!
Indeed. A very nice looking map! Great job Torstan.
Brian R. James Freelance Game Designer
Thanks. Hope it's of use for people.
Great work.

I'm running that book now, so I'll most definately be using this.
I'll be running the book for a while yet so I'll make sure I post any other maps I redraw as and when I get them done.
-Pssh...I wish I could do stuff like that. I have Campaign Cartographer 3, and I...well, suck.
Trolls in sheep's clothing have no redeeming qualities that are beneficial towards the health of the community. My Artwork/Photography/Literature
If you don't mind me asking, what program dd you use, or was that free-hand?

I thought you had used maptool, but thats a playing-aid, not a drawing program.

I've been wanting to do building-interior maps for awhile now, and I was thinking about taking the long and ardurous route of building my own tile set (like I did for the larger maps) in Photoshop.

Anyone know of any good proggies out there, preferably free?

I realy wish I could afford the full set of CC tools.
-Pssh...I wish I could do stuff like that. I have Campaign Cartographer 3, and I...well, suck.

tell me about it. I have no artistic ability at all.
This was all done freehand in Gimp.

Thanks all for the compliments. I have been putting together a tute on how it was made and I will post it over here when it is done if there is an interest?
Very nice map.. but this is a bit similar to some pics in the boxed set "northlands.. where someone, in the middle of winter, in fur boots, but bare legs, sits, and chops logs that lie with the bark upwards! In the background a stonebuilding... (absolutely terrible for heat conservation!) lol

In other words, its about the ship. Already 2 masters are often so big they are never taken to shore. Furthermore, without an anchor, it WILL be blasted to bits, as the waves makes ot pound against the shore.
Even 1 mast sloops, often have to be secured by double anchors.

Another issue is with the fires. Why have them?
They can be seen very far, by say orcs (let alone dragons!), in the night. Secondly, if truly needed for the heat, you keep the fires inside each tent, but mask it.. and keep guards on a perimeter defence. (yeah, im an advanced form of a marine :P )
What you could build, would be a fireshelter. 2 trees, crossbeam, and a bunch of /////// going from ground to the crossbeam, and thus shield the fire from 3 directions. Build theese into a ring, and youll have both a whole ring of sleeping shelters, but also a largely invisible fire. Guards are still needed tho, just to watch the fire if nothing else, perimeter defence, as mentioned, woulnt hurt. Last thing you want is a arrowstorm hitting you while everyone is naked and sleeping ;)
Wow... harsh.

It is a VERY pretty visual representation of the area in the adventure, not an arial photograph!

Please keep these coming (and am looking forward to your tutorial). If you don't mind, I may borrow some of your renderings to create parts of my tile set in Photoshop.

I can't draw to save my life, but I can re-render existing pics with the best of them. :D
pirates used to beach their boats all the time, putting them on their sides to work on them
@MarkusTay63 - I forgot to mention, Gimp is free. Maptool is a playing aid, but can also be used to draw maps. I'd suggest taking a swing past the forums to see what people have done with it.

I have also broken up the bits of the map for people to use independently if they want to. A few examples are:





... and the rest are here:


Feel free to use them as you see fit. I'd be interested to see any results you get with them as they were never (initially) intended to be used as a pack of objects. They are best used over a parchment background.
Ikki, you raise some valid points. The overall response of course is that this is fantasy and the map is designed for fun rather than realism. This is a world in which dragons can fly and mage's can turn the universe inside out. Do we care that skimpy chainmail outfits are not practical or that characters can fall 100ft and not die? Yes, at some level, but we ignore that for the fun of the game.

Now that is of course the lazy answer, but none the less valid. The design philosophy of the map was to make something fun, quickly, that could be used for a bandit camp. I did not have the time or the inclination to do serious research into the historical facts behind the map, but instead took inspiration from what looked good, felt right or was inspired by elements of film or fiction that I enjoy. The last of those is a useful one to pick up on. Films are fun and rarely realistic. However we suspend our disbelief if they tell a good story. More on this later.

Right, having explained why your criticisms shouldn't really come to bear on the map, I'll answer them directly.

Firstly, a stern anchor for the ship. Yes, there should probably be a stern anchor if there is enough tide to float the ship and lay it down again. That would make sense if the high tide were used to float the ship on to the beach, and there must be a tide because there is a tide line. Take it as read that there should be a stern anchor.

Now you say that the ship should not be beached. Well, in the adventure the ship has been badly damaged by an encounter with a Red Wizard ship. This means the ship is not here for mooring (in which case it should indeed be moored off-shore with the crew getting to shore by longboat) but instead for repair. In this case the shallows are serving as a dry-dock of sorts. There are ogres in the camp, trees for use with pulleys and plenty of spars to be used as rollers so I see no problem with beaching even a large two-master. Also, back to the film reference, beached pirate ships are cool. Note Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 have the Black Pearl beached and it looked great. Do I ask how it got there? No. Do I ask how a small crew pushed it back off the beach into the sea? No. I accept that it's out of the realm of the obviously possible because it is fun. In this case I have a world in which there are extraordinary means to achieve such things and I have given you a couple of examples of how this could be achieved if it bothers you.

As for the waves, the Moonsea is small. If you have been to the mediterranean (much much larger than the moonsea) you know that it is effectively a mill-pond. I imagine that the waves in the Moonsea would be pretty titchy, and my intention was always that the cove was a very sheltered spot - otherwise why would pirates anchor there?

Right, the fires. They cannot be seen from a long distance because the camp is in a significant depression. The shadowed lines around the edge are cliffs and there is a waterfall. Therefore the light from the fires is already hidden. The two promontories also hide most of the southern fire from the sea. However the reason for the two open fires is one of fear. The caves harbour fell monsters and the pirates and bandits have built up fires to reassure them when they are guarding the caves and to keep the monsters at bay. As for tilted shelters, please look at the tent to the east of the river mouth. You will note that this is a shelter of precisely the form that you describe. It is a shelter of the form |\ that has a chimney and thus a fire inside. This is indeed more practical for cooking and heat.

So the fires are not visible from afar and are needed to keep back fell beasts rather than to provide cooking or comfort. They are also fun. Pirates should dance drunkenly around bonfires. Equally, pirates are not advanced forms of marines. They currently have no leader and they pose little threat to third level characters. I don't believe that they are in much of a position to take advanced tactical decisions.

As for defence, you have a fair point. The bandits rely on not being discovered for their defence. As noted above, they are not the brightest. The main access down from the cliffs is by a rope or a pulley. This drops into an area that is guarded by a wall and towers. The other access points are the slope to the south-east and jumping off the cliff or the footbridge. There are no further defences at the top level as the players shouldn't see them. In the map as I use it there are hidden tree-platforms guarding the other access points and bear-traps in the undergrowth. These are obviously not on this map as it is used in a VTT and I don't want the players seeing them without making a spot-check first.

I hope that addresses your many concerns with the veracity of my fantasy map. Thanks for taking the time to keep me honest
forgetting the Pirate film references, I do recall reading a historical book on pirates that talk about how they would drag ships ashore and put them on thier side to work on them. Apparently they did not like to use government sponsored shipyards, go figure
even the baltic sea has waves, enough to cause damage to a ship thats being beaten against rocks ;)
As for taking a ship fully ashore, its not something done lightly, especially if you are just visiting somewhere.

regarding fires, ever been in a forest, pitch black night, where there are campfires like that? Trust me, they show far ;)

But none of this was meant to take away anything from a wonderful map
Just a bit, adding realism, if you like.
True enough. I guess the pirates are more terrified of what's in the cave than what might come out of the forest in this case. Thanks for the comments.

Oh, talking about ships battered on rocks - how about this one? There are a couple of unlikely goings on in this map too, let me know if you can find any!


Larger version (and a png of a launch for those that want a small boat) are here:


... and here's a screenshot of the cove map in use. Note the stern anchor that one of the players drew on the ship without prompting